OUR snooker expert Ed Acteson (@EdActeson) has taken a look at the World Open for us.
World Open | Monday – Sunday
The snooker season is back and, after trips to Latvia and India, the tour moves to Yushan, China for the 2016 World Open. Undoubtedly the brightest hope for an eager home crowd will be Ding Junhui and he is the first player whose outright chances interest me.
Ding used to struggle when playing in China, seemingly weighed down by the pressure of carrying a nation on his shoulders. However, around 2009/10 something clicked and in 13 subsequent Shanghai Masters and China Open events, he won twice, finished runner up once and reached four semi-finals. Not a bad return.
Going against him is his form last year which was, frankly, terrible. He did show signs of life towards the end though, capping the season off well with an impressive run to the World Championship final where he was edged out by Mark Selby.
His biggest adversary is his own confidence but when he has it, he remains one of the finest talents in the game. Hypothetically he has a mid-difficulty run to the final where he could have to overcome Shaun Murphy and one of Neil Robertson or Judd Trump.
If, as I hope, he is now back in a positive frame of mind, he stands a great chance of clearing these hurdles though and as such I’ll support him to win the tournament at 10/1 with Stan James. Additionally, I’ll take him at 2/1 with Sportingbet to win the 1st Quarter, with an inconsistent Shaun Murphy looking the only serious threat.
Elsewhere in the draw lies Ding’s prospective semi-final opponent; Judd Trump. The two players are actually fairly similar in that they have failed to convert immense early promise into titles and despite possessing three UK Championships and a Masters title between them, neither has landed the World Championship crown which is real underachievement.
Trump also travels to Asia well, having reached four finals and winning twice. In a short format tournament, I feel his attacking play will stand him in very good stead and he has an absolute dream run to the quarter-final where his hardest possible route consists of Yu De Lu, Peter Ebdon and Dave Gilbert.
Yes, admittedly he will then probably have to face tournament favourite Neil Robertson. However, they have a 50-50 career head to head record and with the format suiting Trump better in my opinion, I prefer him at the bigger price of 15/2 with Sportingbet.
In the other half of the draw, Kyren Wilson is the player I want to follow. Anybody who read my previews last season will know that I like tipping him and feel that he is destined for the top of the game. He has already reached one final this season, at the Indian Open, and I fancy another strong performance here to cement this as a breakthrough season for him.
The industry has begun to pay attention to Wilson and he is currently best priced 25/1 with Betfred whereas last season he was often 50/1 for similar events. However, I would still regard it as value and expect him to be going off half the price again in a further year so want to support him before he becomes unbackable.
Finally a word for Wilson’s conqueror in the Indian Open, tournament champion Anthony McGill. McGill is a player who has flown under most casual fans’ radars with him thus far having failed to majorly impact the big tournaments. He is undoubtedly talented though and played superbly on his way to victory in Hyderabad.
Though I don’t fancy him to repeat that feat here, I still think he is way too big at 10/1 with Sportingbet to win his quarter if he can play to a similar standard. Marco Fu and Ricky Walden are both extremely beatable and Mark Selby tends to save his best stuff for the majors so I am happy to have McGill onside.
World Open – Ding Junhui to win (10/1 Stan James)
World Open – Judd Trump to win (15/2 Sportingbet)
World Open – Kyren Wilson to win (25/1 Betfred)
World Open – Ding Junhui to win Quarter 1 (2/1 Sportingbet)
World Open – Anthony McGill to win Quarter 4 (9/1 Sportingbet)
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